OKLAHOMA CITY — Museum of the Bible and Oklahoma Christian University today announced the unveiling of the Sofer Collection, a unique historical collection of Jewish history, writings and culture, in the university’s Beam Library.
The Sofer Collection contains Talmudic materials, Jewish historical objects, Jewish art and architecture and a wide assortment of catalogues. It is owned by the museum but will be housed and displayed permanently at Oklahoma Christian’s Beam Library to facilitate access by students, faculty and visiting scholars, as well as the general public. In 2015, the museum began to process the collection items at the university, including cleaning, transliteration, and cataloging of all of the items. Begin today, the Collection is available for the public to view and the researchers to use.
“The Sofer collaboration with Oklahoma Christian is a unique example of the educational mission that we share with colleges and universities throughout the country,” said Museum of the Bible Chief Curatorial Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kloha. “It gives us an opportunity to send curators over to the university to lecture and for the college to send students to us to understand this important aspect of the Bible’s history.”
The Sofer collection was originally owned by Benjamin Sofer in the late 20th century. Born of a respected Slovakian Rabbinic family, Sofer had extensive knowledge in the areas of Italian books and culture, the Soncino Bible commentary, Hebrew bibliographies, Talmudic traditions, carpets and textiles, languages and Jewish art. He helped establish an Israeli office for the auction house Sotheby’s, through whom he also acquired many of the items in his collection. Museum of the Bible purchased the collection from Avi Sofer, Benjamin’s wife, in 2014.
“By working to keep the collection intact and accessible, it is Oklahoma Christian’s and Museum of the Bible’s hope that the Sofer collection is of benefit to scholars in our community and those visiting from around the world,” said Oklahoma Christian University President John deSteiguier. “It’s also our hope that this collection will be an excellent vehicle to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue via community outreach and use of the collection’s valuable content.”
This announcement coincides with Oklahoma Christian’s homecoming this weekend. Staff at Museum of the Bible and the Beam Library will continue working together to process the collection through rebinding and repairing books up to 300 years old, transliterating all materials to English and cataloging the collection into WorldCat, a free library database accessible throughout the world. To learn more, click here.